December 5th, 2011

fading right

What I'm really fannish about.

I noted back in October that we had a trifecta of deaths of significant figures in the history of computing: Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie, and John McCarthy. (Black humor moment: Mr Pedia quipped that sadly this trifecta did not include Stallman. Maybe next time!) One of these names is not like the others, because the inventor of LISP and the phrase "artificial intelligence" didn't have much of an effect on the daily lives of non-computer nerds. The other two, however, definitely did.

Steve Jobs is a name you know. Dennis Ritchie was just as important. Read about one of his two great inventions in this awesome IEEE article: The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix.

I love the scan of the man page for seek. The man page format remains essentially the same all these years later. I can type "man seek" even now and … well, okay, it's fseek. BUT STILL.

I am typing this entry on a laptop running a variant of Unix. When posted it will be served to you by a complicated cluster of LJ machines, all of them running Unixes of some kind, and passed through another network of computers on the way, most of those running a Unix. Your endpoint might or might not be: if you're reading on an OS X, iPhone, iPad, or Android device, it definitely is Unix. The amazing ubiquity of Unix in the server world has recently been surpassed by its amazing ubiquity in the consumer device world.

Go Unix!
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